It's Ludacris ... This Guy Knows Rap's Magic Is in the Mischief

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS ELWELL-SUTTON

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PEOPLE take hip-hop too seriously.

All too often, critics subject the lyrics of rap songs to po-faced analysis, as though they're dealing with some kind of social manifesto rather than a piece of light-hearted entertainment.

Rappers are often their own worst enemies, acting as though they're too cool to crack a smile.

Last night, however, Ludacris served the crowd at Cafe de Paris with a refreshing reminder - rap is fun.

Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Ludacris successfully straddles the line between mass appeal and retaining credibility with

"the street" with a gruff rap flow, witty, playful lyrics and an overall sound that's edgy yet accessible.

The formula works: he's sold more than ten million records in the past five years, earning himself a Grammy, as well as acting, to critical acclaim, in the Oscar-winning movies Crash and Hustle & Flow.

Backed by a hyperactive cohort

who did a splendid job of leading audience participation sessions, and a stellar DJ who skilfully resurrected the all-too-rarelyseen art of cutting and scratching with real vinyl, Ludacris delivered rap that was crisp, passionate and word-perfect.

It was no surprise, then, that his devoted fans jumped and cheered from the start to the irresistible stomping rhythm of Act A Fool, followed by the mischievous, melodious romp that is Area Codes. …